I'd probably get a hard tail if I was you, you get better components for the money, and you don't seem like you need or even want rear suspension(it sucks on the road).BizJetGuy : If you plan on riding both mountain and road - not too serious on either - maybe you should consider a mid-range mt bike with a set of slick road tires and a set of knobbies... easy to switch between the two and the road won't chew up your knobbies.
I agree with all of the above posts. A couple of years ago I trained for, and completed an Olympic-distance triathlon. Since then I decided to focus more on biking and less on swimming and running (which I never really enjoyed anyway). I ride 3-4 times a week alternating between my road & mountain bikes just to keep it interesting. In the winter I have a stationary liquid trainer I use with the road bike so I don't go nuts from inactivity.Heavy-Dee : Well I have been thinking a road bike, but maybe I should be flexible w/ this. I am looking for an alternative to running for exercise. I see myself on the road more than trail.
Races? Probably not, but I think it would be cool to do a du, or triathalon. Maybe I should learn how to swim before I do that....
I'm thinking 2-3 days a week when the weather is good. Possibly 8 hours (not sure how many miles) a week or so. That would be a good week probably.
I am a fan of road bikes with flat bars and decent tire clearance on the fork and seatstays. You can always put 35mm diameter cyclocross tires on if you want to ride on a trail. Trek, Fuji,and Specialized, all have decent offerings in the entry market. The Fuji has rockin' good looks and can be had for $600, and the Trek 1000 with the flat bar will run you five bills and change. I commuted by mountain bike for four years before I got my first road bike. It was then that I realized, suspension, especially nowadays, is serious overkill for 90% of its users. Don't forget, with suspension comes maintenance.BizJetGuy : If you plan on riding both mountain and road - not too serious on either - maybe you should consider a mid-range mt bike with a set of slick road tires and a set of knobbies... easy to switch between the two and the road won't chew up your knobbies.